There is no shortage of smart lightbulbs on the market these days (Philips Hue continues to dominate). There’s ones that can produce millions of colours and there are some that have built-in bluetooth speakers. But what about ones for your pool or garden. There’s a good chance that you may have not heard about MIPOW or their upcoming PLAYBULB Solar.
I’ve been using their PLAYBULB Solar for about a week or so and I wouldn’t call it the absolute best smart light out there but it’s still a good product.
In this review, I will cover the following areas:
- Design & Hardware
*Editor’s note: Even though the PLAYBULB Solar doesn’t have a screen or actual software on the device itself, in the software portion of this review I will be focusing on the PLAYBULB Android app.
Design & Hardware
On first glance, the PLAYBULB Solar looks like a UFO which makes it easier to spot if you throw the bulb in the pool. The device has a circular design and is about 7.5 inches in diameter or if you want to be really specific, it’s 192x192x22mm.
The outer white ring is where the LEDs are housed and are capable of creating over 16 million RGB colors. As the name implies, the center circle of the top of device is where the solar panel is located. It takes about 10 hours of sunlight to fully charge and the bulb lasts up to 25 hours on a single charge. The device is also IP68 rated water resistance, so that means it’s perfect to toss in the pool.
The PLAYBULB Solar also comes with monopods, so you can easily place the bulb in your backyard. When holding the device, it seem like you’re almost holding a frisbee but just a bit heavier than a normal plastic frisbee. The device has a unique design as compared to traditional garden lights.
As of writing this review, MIPOW is set to launch their next Kickstarter for the PLAYBULB Solar, which is set to launch in February. The MSRP is about $49 USD and the Kickstarter will offer up to 30% off the retail price.
To change the PLAYBULB Solar to any of the 16 million colours, you have to download the PLAYBULB X app from either Google Play or the App Store. Upon opening the app, you’ll be prompted to connect your bulb(s) over bluetooth. The PLAYBULB Solar has a 10m (33ft) wireless range.
It’s worth noting that I did have some connection issues while using the PLAYBULB Solar, particularly when I left the app, I would set a colour but then when I left the app (and it was still open in the background), the bulb’s colour would go off. This could be to save some battery life but the bulb said it was a 75% charge via the app.
You can also connected multiple PLAYBULB Solar devices together by creating a group within the app. The app itself isn’t the best app out there, it looks very basic and seems like it’s from an Android app from the days of Android 4.0. It’s in serious need of updating even though the app does get updates.
Other than that, the app does get the job done in some respect. You’re able to connect to a bulb and change the colours of it and turn it off or on. You’ll also be able to see how much battery is left in your PLAYBULB Solar via the app and choose from a few different scene options to set the mood or atmosphere.
The PLAYBULB Solar is an interesting device, we’re going to be seeing more and more smart lighting devices in the near future. The PLAYBULB Solar is a good device but it’s bogged down by an app that looks outdated.
Personally, the PLAYBULB Solar isn’t something I would use on a daily basis, especially since I live in Canada and we have harsh winters at times. But I’d consider using the PLAYBULB Solar more during the summertime, since I would be outside more often than in winter.
You can find more about the PLAYBULB Solar on MIPOW’s website.
- Unique design
- Bright colours
- Easy to use
- PLAYBULB X app could be better
- Connection issues